Sometimes we reach a point in our careers when we are looking for a change. We may not want to earn more money, but we do want to find new challenges and get a true sense of satisfaction from what we do. Nowhere is that more true than in the nursing profession. While we all start out with an idealistic view, often our work can deteriorate into mundane and unfulfilling tasks – particularly if we do not have enough opportunities to work directly with patients who need our help.
If you are in this situation, and feel that it is time for you to take a break from your career and go in a different direction for a while, then why not consider becoming a volunteer nurse overseas? Not only will this give you a completely different experience, it will also make you feel that you are giving back and helping people who cannot help themselves.
Charity is important, and volunteering your time and expertise is the ultimate act of charity. Of course, you could volunteer in the United States, and make a difference in the same way that Stanton Optical’s Ohio stores give back to the local community, but the place that your nursing skills will do the most good is in places such as India or Africa. Another option is to volunteer to go to disaster areas – there is nowhere else that you will find so many people in desperate need.
One option if you are looking to go abroad as an overseas nurse is the American Red Cross. While most of the opportunities to volunteer with the Red Cross are actually in the United States, they do also send volunteers to respond to international disasters on a limited basis.
This may be a good starting point for volunteering as a nurse, since you will become familiar with what it takes to be a volunteer in a setting that is close to home. Once you have acquired that experience – which can include responding to disasters locally within the United States – then you will be able to transfer those skills when you travel abroad. The American Red Cross has a long history of working with volunteer nurses dating back to 1888, and has more than 20,000 volunteer and paid nurses today.
If you want to go abroad right away, then consider an organization such as Doctors Without Borders. In fact, the organization actually pays its nurses – although the monthly salary is only around $1500. You will also receive a per diem in the local currency, as well as room and board. Doctors Without Borders works in almost 60 countries around the world, helping people who are at risk due to disasters, violence or poverty.
Some of the types of emergencies that the organization responds to are armed conflicts, famines, epidemics, earthquakes and floods. You could get involved in a wide range of overseas projects – for example you could find yourself fighting AIDS in Swaziland or helping drug-resistant tuberculosis patients in India.